Tiger Woods–Missing the forest because of the trees

I’ve been watching all the stuff about tiger woods today, and I think there is an essential and broader point that is being missed.

What happens to people when the go from poor or modest means to very rich.

It goes along with “why did so many rock stars OD”?  Why do so many sports stars have affairs, take drugs, gamble, or whatever.  You could call it sudden riches syndrome, SRS.

Suppose you go from poor to rich overnight.  Of course you buy a nicer house and car etc., but what then.  What perks do you personally  get for your accomplishments.

Many people have been destroyed by riches.  They’ve been struggling for years to get there which gave them direction and purpose, but what now.

Tiger Woods  said he felt entitled, and that’s exactly what I’m talking about—you  made all that money—shouldn’t you be personally entitled to SOMETHING?

From outside, or from our point of view he has it made.  He has all that money, a beautiful wife, and doesn’t have to worry about all the financial things that we do. But that is just seeing it through our eyes.

But from the inside it looks like, I did all this and what do I personally get.  A lot of the things we want aren’t very satisfying once we can have them as many times as we want.  Once you know that you could go to the wonderful restaurant every night it loses its allure.

So people in this situation tend to go after the subconscious things they could never get.  Many beautiful women, more and better drugs, fancy toys, and then when those don’t work anymore they are really up against it.  “I must deserve something, but what’s left?”

It is one of the basic existential situations of our culture where what matters most if the external.  If this were well known and discussed, it would be easier for these people to know what is happening to them, and we could feel more compassionate for them.

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3 Responses to Tiger Woods–Missing the forest because of the trees

  1. Beth says:

    You are spot on! Same thing goes for lottery winners. I was listening to a program (perhaps it was on NPR) talking about Happiness. And there was a study about how winning the lottery impacted a person’s level of happiness. The study reported that while after winning the $ there was a temporary spike in happiness, that after a while, most returned to whatever their baseline level was. The one group who remained at a higher level of happiness were folks who used the money to help others. Be rich… be poor… it doesn’t really matter… but help others and you will be happy :D Seems pretty simple, huh?

  2. admin says:

    That’s true beth. Working on doing something bigger than just yourself is defititely one of the keys to happiness, because it’s worthwhile, and it gives you purpose and direction. Having no money can certainly contribute to unhappiness, but once you have survival covered more money may give you some sence of security, but that’s about it.

    For people who get a lot of money quickly it can be horrible, espcially if they’ve devoted most of the lives to getting it, because where do they go from there. The house of cards they’ve been building just colapsed. They have to invent another purpose to live for or they perish.

    I thought it was very hopeful that Tiger mentioned that he had been raise a Buddhist, because it sounded as if could be his life boat. I know that some buddhist teachers have certainly been thaty for me especially Pema Chodron–http://www.pemachodrontapes.org/
    http://www.beliefnet.com/Health/Physical-Health/Pain-Management/Turning-Toward-Pain.aspx and Charlotte Beck http://www.amazon.com/Nothing-Special-Charlotte-J-Beck/dp/0062511173 Also, although not buddhist per se, Eckhart Tolle who has a great picture of him with the Dahli Lama on his web page http://www.eckharttolle.com/home/

    Thaks for your comment.

    Richard
    Dyed in Vermont
    http://tie-dyes.com

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